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The cliometrics of academic chairs. Scientific knowledge and economic growth, the evidence across the Italian regions 1900-1959

The analysis of the evolution of the academic chairs of an academic system is a promising area of investigation. The exploration of the evolution of the size and the disciplinary composition of the stock of academic chairs in Italy in the years 1900- 1959 provides an opportunity to understand the contribution of scientific knowledge to economic growth. The basic assumption is that knowledge is not a homogeneous activity, but rather a bundle of highly differentiated disciplines that have a differentiated impact on economic growth. Advances in scientific knowledge are likely to have a direct, positive effect on economic growth according to their fungibility, appropriability and complementarity with other sources of technological knowledge and hence exploitation conditions. Advances in scientific knowledge that can be converted into technological knowledge with high levels of fungibility, appropriability and complementarity have a higher chance to affect economic growth. The econometric analysis confirms that advances in engineering and chemistry, as proxied by the number of chairs, had much a stronger output elasticity than in other scientific fields. These results have important implications for research policy as they highlight the differences in the economic effects of academic disciplines.

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Paper provided by University of Turin in its series Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio Carlo Alberto. WP series with number 201206.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uto:labeco:201206
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.unito.it/
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